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The Cycle

News/Business. Politics, the economy, media, sports and any other issues that grab people's attention. New.

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Connecticut 7, Newtown 5, Colorado 5, Obama 4, Nbc 4, Fbi 4, Jay Carney 3, Kristen Welker 3, Malloy 3, America 3, Ryan Lanza 3, Hoboken 3, Mueller 2, Paul Vance 2, Clint Van Zandt 2, Krystal 2, Aurora 2, Sandy 2, England 2, Michelle 2,
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  MSNBC    The Cycle    News/Business. Politics, the economy, media, sports  
   and any other issues that grab people's attention. New.  

    December 14, 2012
    12:00 - 1:00pm PST  

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the screen says 26. according to justice correspondent, 27 dead right now. at least 18 of them are children. it's a fairly -- in addition to beyond sad, incomprehensibly sad, just as complex. over the past hour, we found out that 24-year-old ryan lanza, he was found shot to death. in the school. we also found out that some family member, one of ryan lanza family members shot to death at a home nearby in newtown, connecticut. a search warrant is being conducted in hoboken, new jersey. that's where he lived. we know that shortly after 9:30 this morning, walked in to the mother's kindergarten classroom and opened fire. he killed her an he also killed at least 18 children. that's the latest. we'll continue right now. "the cycle" will pick things up from here. 3:00 here in new york.
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five hours and 90 miles from the mass shooting. we have been following it for you throughout the day ones ms. speaking of newtown, population 27,000, reeling this afternoon along with a stunned nation, after a gunman opened fire just after the start of class this morning. federal sources say he was 24 years old with two guns and shot dead. the suspect reportedly from hoboken made the hour or so trip up north to sanly hook elementary school where his mother taught kindergarten. we're hearing that victims were found inside the kindergarten classroom and inside the principal's office. new jersey governor chris christie expected to speak momentarily about the suspect. connecticut's governor up live this hour, as well. an update this hour from hospital. monitoring that for you.
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meantime, back in connecticut state police updated the very early investigation a short time ago. >> there were several fatalities at the scene. both students and staff. there is no information relative to that. that's being released at this time until a complete and proper notification. the shooter is deceased inside the building. suffice it to say the scene is secure. >> after news of the shooting, anxious parents rushed to the school picking up the frightened children, probably frightened themselves. the witnesses describe the scene they encountered moments after. >> we were gone during morning meeting. we heard like shots and everybody went on the ground and miss martin closed the door and we went to the corner. >> nbc's michelle franzen is at the school in newtown. michelle i read a parent said we thought that newtown was the safest place in america. what is the newtown you're finding today? >> reporter: well, the newtown that we're finding today, toure, is one that's grieving.
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grieving for the children that were expecting to hear that we were killed and family who is are grieving as well as the families who rushed to that school early this morning to be reunited with the kids after the traumatic and tragic experience today and unfolded at the elementary school and this picturesque new england town where one road leads in to the main street and a few businesses and this elementary school sits on a hill. of course, we have heard about these shootings all around the country in the past few decades before but this shooting involves some of the youngest students that we have been hearing about. you mentioned earlier the shooter going in what we believe we're hearing in to a kindergarten room where his mom worked, opened fire there and in other areas of the school and investigators are still at that school at this hour obviously. a lot to deal with. a lot to pour over in terms of the crime scene. the governor is back at the school right now.
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we are told meeting with those families. those families who also rushed to the school this morning only to be sequestered off in to another area to be told the worst information that any parent could possibly imagine hearing. and that's what we know at this hour. we know that the community is also pulling together. there's a prayer vigil already held. we'll see more of that community rally around each other in the coming days and weeks and hearing from other communities in terms of colorado and virginia tech area where also shootings really, really just devastated those communities. they're reaching out offering their support and sympathy at this hour. >> yeah. michelle, you talk about a parent's worst nightmare, every parent can relate to that. can you talk about any of the sort of mood that you can sense going on as these parents rush in to the school and try to deal with this american nightmare? >> reporter: i think we can
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imagine whether we're parents or not but certainly as parenparen getting the call. most parents probably at work. some may have worked in new york city which is about 60 miles away. they're rushing here and also word that many of the law enforcement or the first responders that were at the school knew or had their own children in this school that they were also trying to cope with so this really does hit home in many ways as we always hear. but any small community or any community anywhere throughout this country can imagine the pain and can imagine the tragic feelings that are unfolding in this town at this hour. >> michelle, do we have any information on how the shooter was able to actually enter the school? >> no. we don't have any details like that so far. i would imagine that we are hearing -- we're going to get more word in the next half hour as the governor and law
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enforcement hold another press briefing but the initial reports is that he entered the school. he was wearing all black. two handguns. and that he made his way to the school room where his mom taught. that's what we know so far. we don't know any other details. i am certain that everything happened very quickly. we heard about a 911 call coming in and the response was fast. and law enforcement said immediately they were in an active situation going door to door checking different classrooms so it was a very chaotic situation. but also, something that law enforcement says that they train for as well as school officials now throughout the country training for this very scenario. >> thank you for that update. president obama will speak today at 3:15. nbc's kristen welker is at the white house. what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, krystal, president obama was alerted about this tragedy at 10:30 this morning by the national security
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adviser john brennan. he is receiving updates throughout the morning and afternoon. white house press secretary jay carney holding a daily briefing today and talking about how tragic the events are and asked the initial response was. carney held off saying that it's too soon and the president waiting for details and made the point that president obama is watching these events unfold today as a father as much as he is wachi inwatching as a presid. the president reached out to fbi director mueller as well as the governor of connecticut malloy. now, president obama is very reminisce ept of the aurora, colorado, shooting and president obama spoke to the nation. he was middle in the campaign at that point. he suspended the events. spoke to the nation about how tragic it was, extended condolences to the people of colorado. i'm sure we'll hear similar comments of the president today. jay carney was asked earlier
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today about the fact that president obama has supported stiffer gun control legislation. he was asked if today was the day to renew the efforts. he said today is not the day to talk about policy but focus on the victims and all of the people who are suffering in connecticut so again president obama alerted about this tragedy at 10:30 this morning. he is monitoring the situation, getting updates throughout the day, offering his assistance to the state of connecticut as well as his sympathy and condolences. >> do we have any sense of how long the comments would be or if he would take questions? >> i'm sure he'll get some sh t shouted questions. i'm not sure the format specifically be. generally hearing from the president ten, maybe 15 minutes when something like this happens so i don't anticipate a long speech but i would anticipate that the correspond ents in that briefing room have a number of questions for the president and
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because he spoke with the governor of connecticut and fbi director and point of stiffer gun control legislation and if he accepts questions, one or two correspondents ask about that, stiffer gun control. but certainly, we'll hear president obama really extend condolences, the sympathies to victims, people in connecticut right now and offer the full support of the federal government as that community deals with this unspeeakable tragedy. >> thank you. craig melvin is following this since the news broke. what is the latest right now? >> we hear stories of sandy hook elementary school. we heard of a third grader describe screams being heard over the intercom system. we heard about a gym teacher to huddle together a number of her students in the gym to keep them safe but at this point, again, important to note for the viewer that is details about the tragedy continue to trickle in.
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and that it is at this point a fairly complex story. three scenes, one in hoboken, one here at the elementary school and getting a picture above in newtown and the other not so far away, we found out from justice correspondent pete williams about 15 or 20 minutes ago a family member of ryan lanza, the 24-year-old, the gunman, according to authorities, walked in to his mother's classroom and opened fire around 9:30 this morning. but we're told that nearby, near the school, another family member of lanza's was found dead before this. so at this point, law enforcement trying to connect the dots but we know based on reports we have heard on the ground, folks who are in law enforcement, as well, we do know that he walked in to classroom in all black. at least two handguns. may have had a third rifle. there's confusion at this point over that. at least two handguns. wearing a vest with pockets.
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perhaps to store even more ammunition. and we also know that the lion's share of his shooting was directed at his mother's kindergarten classroom. at least 18 children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old were all dead. and they were killed inside their elementary school. before he made the way to his mother's classroom, he stopped first at the principal's office and opened fire, as well. so again, at this point, 26 dead. 18 of them children. eight adults. there are three folk who is are still in the hospital. at this point, we don't know whether they're adults. we don't know whether they're children or their condition, as well. all of this information of course all of these details something to find out here over the next few minutes or hours, as well. at this point, we also don't have any indication about a motive. that, of course, is the question that everyone who's watching and listening. that's the question that
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everyone wants answered. and even when we get that answer, it will not be sufficient. there's absolutely no explanation as to why someone would walk in to the classroom and in addition to killing their mother, kill defenseless children. we know that about the invest and transpired this morning. with folks not familiar with the town, about 27,000 folks. it's very small town. there's also a federal prison there so you have a number of government workers who live in the area, as well. so that's the very latest. we continue to gather more information as we learn more and will, of course, pass it to you guys. back to you. >> thanks, craig. >> again, the president will speak in just moments so stay with us and they're lower the flags right now at the capitol. nbc's kristen welker is back for us at the white house. >> reporter: well, underscores the fact not just a tragedy for the state of connecticut but for the entire nation. president obama just releasing this statement. i'm going to read it to you.
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he says, quote, i here by order that the flag of the united states at half staff at white house and all public buildings and grounds at all military posts and naval stations and on all naval vessels of the federal government and the district of columbia and throughout the united states and the territories and possessions until sunset december 18th, 2012. again, the flag here at the white house will be flown at half staff and the other flags here throughout the capital. president obama making it clear that the federal government stands with connecticut as it endures this tragedy. and tries to cope with this tragedy. the president was alerted about this situation at 10:30 this morning by the national security adviser. he's watching the developments unfold. he's been updated on the situation throughout the day and also been in contact with the folks in connecticut calling the governor there a little bit earlier on this afternoon. but his press secretary jay
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carney making the point that the president is watching this tragedy unfold, not just as the commander in chief, as the president of this country, but also as a father who has two daughters. >> kristen, do we know, are there plans for the president to visit newtown, connecticut, any time soon? >> reporter: well, i wouldn't be surprised if he visits newtown, connecticut. if you look at the history, the pattern of this president, he certainly has visited states that have endured similar tragedies. aurora, colorado. tucson, arizona. and he goes to really be the healer in chief in those instances, to really stand with those communities as they really begin what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult healing process. there are no plans reported or read out but i would say it's quite likely to see president obama visit with the people in connecticut who are suffering so dearly right now. >> you asked -- you asked an
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important question, krystal, about how did the shooter get in to the building and the schools function as sort of lockdown situation and not supposed to be able to get in if you're not supposed to be there. you have a card or in my school they have visually recognize you in the main office so you have to be known to the community, perhaps he was known because his mother was there and then in terms of the architecture of the schools with one door, classrooms and the children cannot leave to run away from the teachers. so if you block the door, you have the whole school, the whole room as almost a fish bowl and just visualizing what could have happened, it's just very frightening to me to think about that architecture is structured. >> horrifying image. >> let's bring in epete william covering this all day long. what do you know? >> reporter: what we know is that a man with two handguns walked in to this school about 9:30 this morning, went to the principal's office, fired a number of shots and then went to a classroom where his mother
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taught and devoted most of his attention there with devastating affect. we believe that the total number of children killed is 18 and either 8 or 9 adults depending on whether the shooter ryan lanza is counted in that total or not. after the shooting and the police serving search warrants at addresses associated with the young man, they discovered another family member who was shot to death at a home in newtown, connecticut, which is where the school is. and at the same time, at the school, authorities detained the brother of ryan lanza to see whether he had information about the shooting. he is not being called a suspect. he is simply someone they believe may have information that's useful. he is in custody. authorities are conducting searches in new jersey and other addresses connected with this young man to see what else they can learn. in terms of firearms -- >> pete, i'm sorry. we have to go. we have the president.
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>> this afternoon, i spoke with governor malloy and fbi director mueller. i offered governor malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime. care for the victims. counsel their families. we have endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. and each time i learn the news, i react not as a president but as anybody else would. as a parent. and that was especially true today. i know there's not a parent in america who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that i do. the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.
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they had their entire lives ahead of them. birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. so our hearts are broken today. for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of the adults who were lost. our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well. for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been
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torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain. as a country, we have been through this too many times. whether it's an elementary school in newtown or a shopping mall in oregon or a temple in wisconsin or a movie theater in aurora or a street corner in chicago. these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. and we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. this evening, michelle and i will do what i know every parent in america will do which is hug our children a little tighter and we'll tell them that we love them. and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. but there are families in connecticut who cannot do that tonight. and they need all of us right now.
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in our days to come, the community needs us to be at our best as americans and i will do everything in my power as president to help. because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them. that we are praying for them. that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also, in our ours. may god bless the memory of the victims and in the words of spriccher heal the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. >> that is an emotional president obama speaking just now about the mass shooting in connecticut earlier today. let's get back to nbc's kristen
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welker at the white house. >> reporter: steve, this is probably the most emotional that we have seen this president as he comes out to address the nation to respond to these types of tragedies. the reason understandable. he talked about the fact that so many young lives were lost today. the lives of children who had so much ahead of them, children who had the rest of their lives to live, children who will not be able to have their own children. you saw a very emotional president obama today. you also heard a bit of a call to action. he talked about the fact that in the wake of this shooting, he would like to see meaningful action to try to prevent these types of tragedies from happening in the future. what specifically did he mean by that? of course, that will evolve in the coming days and weeks. right now, the president clearly focused on extending his condolences, his sympathy to the victims, to all of the people who are suffering right now in connecticut.
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you also heard him talk at the top of the remarks about the fact that he did reach out to the fbi director, as well as the governor of connecticut offering his sympathy, but also, offering the full support of the federal government as they begin what will undoubtedly be an incredibly long and difficult heal process so president obama becoming quite emotional as he addresses the nation about this most recent gun massacre that has unfolded in connecticut. steve? >> heart breaking and horrifying for the 600 students inside sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. we bring in dr. joshua wiener, he is -- excuse me. a board certified in both adult and child and adolescent psychiatry. joshua, you can understand it's emotional for everyone. there are reports that the children were told to cover their eyes as they fled past the
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school's main office. how do you begin even discussing this with children as you can tell it's hard for adults to talk? >> yeah. i mean, this is an unbelievable tragedy. as a father of two elementary school aged kids, it is so hard to understand and wrap your arms around this. i think what parents need to be aware is with really young kids, elementary school aged kids, you want to keep it very brief and simple. you don't want to go in to any graphic detail. you want to answer whatever questions they may have and you want to be able to provide them with reassurance. of course, there's no way to guarantee that the world is safe to your kid and when a kid is an elementary school aged child, you want to make things black and white for them and let them know that even though this tragedy occurred, they are very safe. their schools are safe and they will be okay. because kids very young have a very hard time appreciating and understanding probabilities. they're not going to do well with an answer that says, well, in general things are going to
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be safe for you so you don't need to worry. >> doctor, we have actually been in my household i have a 4 1/2-year-old and she's been asking a lot of questions about death and what does it mean and how long will you live, how long will i live. how do you explain those sorts of life and death questions to young children? >> you know, the way i would typically start by answering those is asking more questions. are you worried about how long mommy will live? if youen ends up asking the questions it's in their mind. i would suggest parents ask their child why they're asking the questions and i think you do again want to be reassuring and let them know that mommy, daddy, everybody's safe. we are going to be around for a
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long time. >> doctor, one of the problems in these situations, i have a they don't know how to express them beyond the crying, being super happy and for parents multiple discussions a two-minute discussion, the next day, four days later, you realize they're still thinking about that and as parents we have to be prepared to have the conversation over and over. right? >> absolutely. i think you're right on the money there. kids process this gradually over time. let them know you're available to talk about this. you may want to initiate sometimes, say how are you doing? are you still thinking about that? this is going to linger for a while for many of them and you want to keep a look out for regression in their behaviors so this is going to be an indication that maybe they're struggling more than the average kid with this information. if they're having sleep problems, nightmares, if they're
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more clingy with you and not eating, if they're suddenly bed wetting again, parents should be aware these may be an indicator that your child is having a harder time dealing with this than you might expect and so because of that you might want to take more of an active role in asking them about this an you also might want to consider possibly seeking out extra help. but i don't think parents need to worry if the kid is exhibiting these for a week afterwards. i would say that's within the normal range. if it's going beyond that, that's a point where i think parents need to consider possibly getting extra help for their child. >> if you could speak to children who are survivors in this school or parents of survivors in this school, you know, children who second hand experience this, what would you say to them? >> what i would tell them is that kids, kids are resilient. they're going to be okay. i think adults need to understand that most of the kids
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are going to be just fine with this. you know, in general, the interesting thing is no matter the trauma, an adult or a child, so this could be war, school shootings, et cetera, in general about 15% of the people are really going to be the ones who exhibit the problems so the bulk of the kids are going to be okay. i would say to kids right now that they're probably experiencing such a mix of emotions and probably can't identify what exactly they're feeling. there's a term of derealization where it just feels like they're in a dream and not sure how to process this so over time you want to talk to them and give them words to help them understand and process what they're experiencing. but the feelings that they're experiencing today are different than the feelings they will have tomorrow and next week. >> doctor, there is nothing more horrifying for a parent than the idea of losing their child. what would you say to the parents to help them get through this unbelievable tragedy? >> i think the parents need to
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seek the support of other parents. they need to talk about it and process it. in many ways i think this strategidy is harder for the parents than the kids. but they need to be careful because they're emotional and young kids take the cues on how worried to be from their parents. so importaparents, for instance to pick up the kids today, maybe more emotional seeing their kids and might give them a tighter hug but i think parents need to keep the emotions in check because if they run to their kids and crying and squeeze them, kids are a little freaked out and wonder what's going. kids take the cues from the parents so the parents need to make sure whenever they're around the kids, they have their own emotions in check so that that way the kids end up feeling more secure and safe. >> right. easier said than done. thank you so much for that. and in a situation like this, we know hospitals snap in to trauma mode. dr. mike am anderson is chief
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medical officer at university hospital's case medical center in cleveland and specializes in pediatrics. is any er prepared for this situation? >> we drill for tragedies like this. we do mock drills, tabletops and talk it through, we bring in actors to portray victims and you drill it and the point's well taken. how do you prefair for a tragedy of this magnitude? how do you prepare for your own emotions? you saw the president take this very much to heart so hospitals do prepare. i think judging the last ten years better prepared than ten years ago but the emotion sometimes taking over and sometimes folks in trauma centers or children's hospitals have an adrenaline rush for two, four, six hours focused on the patients and getting through and then we're human and after that phase it's important that the caregivers are offered mental
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health support, as well. >> i wonder about that. at what point does the mental health of the doctor impact the ability to give care even seeing the president dab the eyes several times and this table we're having a hard time getting through it. seeing small children come in, some living, some gone, how do you keep going as a caregiver? >> it's very difficult. i'm doing this 20 years and sort of seen a pattern. in the heat of the moment, you revert to your training. you know it's about resuscitation, triage, finding the right resources to save the lives of that -- save the life of that child. it is about supporting the family and getting the resources and being honest and tell them what's going on with their loved one but when that adrenaline rush goes away and done for the day and getting in the car to go home, you have that letdown and as i said it takes many, many months to years to heal from this. but i think we are doing a better job as hospital and hospital administrators to know
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it's not just about the victims but the caregivers, as well. we have to take care of each other. >> you would have in this situation grieving parents there, as well. you know, what would the scene be like in terms of helping those parents to deal with their motions at that snoemt. >> it's unfortunate, we have drills and people reunified and try to reunite them with their families as quick as possible but you can imagine the terror of not knowing and minutes turn in to hours and providing as much support and love and honesty as you can is important and we drill for these things, a lot, but the emotion of this is just overwhelming. >> when you have a tragedy like this, the er's going to be
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overwhelmed. you don't expect several people at once needing acute care right away. can you talk about the metho methodology and how that changes talking about pediatrics? >> it's surge plan. how do you surge up and take care of more patients? good news, no the that it's good news but great children's hospitals across the country that regionalized well, prepared to help as they can and there's emergency departments and hospitals that don't take care of a lot of kids. things like this don't happen that often and good organizations tried to reach out and say, not only prepare for that one sick patient, that disaster of one, but make sure you have affiliation with children's hospitals, make sure you drilled to take care of kids. make sure you know where your children's hospital is and how they can help you and surging up for this kind of big mass casualty is unfortunately becoming more in need and we're drilling for it more often and i
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come back to the first point, it's tough when you have to do it. >> we understand the hospital drills for these things. is that common protocol across the country? is this standard at all hospitals and trauma centers? >> there is but there's drilling and drilling really well and we're trying to get better and better. there's the children's hospital association trying to set the best standard. one thing to do it on a tabletop and okay, imagine you got 20 injured or shot kids. it is much more intense if you bring in actors or kids to play the victims, if you will. because then you have to see if the moving parts are working. can you bring in two more surgeons? how would you clear out the waiting room to make a reunification? i think the country is getting better at it. it's unfortunate it's necessary because we are seeing incidents like this but i think that hospitals are taking this surge or disaster drills much more seriously over the last several years. >> describe the scene you
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imagine in newtown in the trauma center there. >> yeah. i think the trauma center is revved up. i think they're trying to figure out what kids can stay and i don't know the details of the numbers to be honest but what kids can stay, what children need to be transferred to a regional trauma center, how do we resuscitate those children and get the transport assets? what sort of medical things to get in. those kind of situations really can be chaotic and also a truck which you are to it. there's a person in charge. there's somebody called the incident commander that sets the tone for the response. there are different people with different delegated responsibilities but it can be chaotic. but if you plan well, if you figure out what the structure is, figure out these sort of details before the tragedy strikes, then i think it goes much, much better. back to the importance of roles. >> doctor, i'm also wondering what kind of sort of chain reaction this has on neighboring hospitals.
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so if your hospital is receiving a lot of patients during the disaster, does it also spark area hospitals to prepare for maybe overflow or that sort of thing? >> it's a great question. that's a concept of coalitions. we know that one hospital itself can't prepare for something of this magnitude. it's difficult for one facility to really take this all in. so the concept of coalitions are one what are the other hospitals to help? how is ems involved in this? does ems take one child to another low kigs and potentially children to another location not overwhelmed? how's the local children's hospital a part of that coalition? you are right. the best regions of this country have really practiced this and drilled this coalition. one institution is really going to be hard pressed to get through something like this. how do we operate as coalitions is a very important part, whether a tragedy like this, a mass shooting, something like an earthquake or god forbid another
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terrorist attack, this is important because one institution is very overwhelmed. >> doctor, i'm curious. you have mentioned drilling several times. how many times has your hospital drilled this year? >> twice with actors and pushed us because it was a very busy day and if you combine a busy day of a lot of patients with this, you know -- >> all right. connecticut's -- sorry, doctor. we have to cut you off. connecticut's governor dannel malloy is about to speak and give us an update. looks like they are just setting up for that right now. that's dan malloy there in the middle of the screen. and panning away from him right now. looks like he'll step up to the podium in a minute. >> good afternoon, everyone. earlier today a tragedy of unspeakable terms played its out in this community. lieutenant governor and i have
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been spoken to and an attempt that we might be prepared for something like this playing itself out in our state. you can never be prepared for this kind of incident. what has happened and what's transpired at that school building will leave a mark on this community and every family impacted. i only ask that all of our fellow citizens here in the united states and around the world who have offered their assistance remember all of the victims in their prayers. to all of you in the media, we will do our best to keep you as informed as we can. after i'm done speaking, a representative of the state police will speak to you and give you some additional information. earlier today, a number of our
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citizens, beautiful children, had their life taken away from them. as well as adults whose responsibility it was to educate and super vise those children. the perpetrator of the crime is dead. as is an individual who the perpetrator lived with. with that, i'm going to turn it over to paul vance who will answer or will give you some additional information and then later in the day perhaps we'll speak again. again, i think on behalf of the people of the state of connecticut we extend our condolences as i have at the firehouse to the parents of these children, as well as the adult that is are there. i want to thank the president who has been on the phone with
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us today for his statement released to you a little while ago, as well as the statements he made to me earlier -- much earlier today as the hours rated by. with that, i should say there's a number of public officials and first select woman who's been on site throughout the day. we have state representatives, state senator, other select people who are here. we have the superintendent of schools who has done wonderful work in helping us get the information necessary to begin the processes that will be ongoing for a number of hours in advance. i want to thank senator blumenthal and senator-elect murphy for also joining us. with that, i'm going to absent myself. mr. vance will come forward and speak to you. thank you very much.
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>> hi, good evening. i just would like to restate some of the information that we made earlier. we'll take some questions but i must preface my remarks by saying this is a aktsive, ongoing investigation. there are a lot of things we cannot confirm or discuss as of yet. but shortly after 9:30 this morning newtown police department received a call for help at the sandy hook elementary school here in newtown. upon realizing the intensity and difficulty of the situation, newtown called for surrounding police departments and state police to respond to assist. upon arrival of law enforcement officers at the school, they immediately entered the school as we knew this was an active potential active shooter situation. their focus was to search for
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students, faculty and staff and remove them to a safe area outside of the school. they did search every nook an cranny, every room and every portion of that school and accomplished that task. they took refuge to a staging area to reunite them with family members. as has been reported there were fatalities. there were 18 children pronounced dead at the school. there were two that were trance portded and pronounced dead at area hospitals and six adults pronounced dead at the school at the scene. as the governor reported, the shooter is deceased, deceased in the school. there's a great deal of work going on relative to that. that's the reason we have not identified him as of yet and by that i mean search warrants, areas of residence, employment and any ancillary things attached to the identity of that individual. the scene is secured. newtown police officers, state
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police, major crime units of western district and central district have responded and are working with several agencies to process this scene. it is not a simplistic scene as you can certainly understand. we need to establish identity, document the entire scene and simply stated, answer every single question surrounding exactly how and why this incident occurred. as the governor said, we will be here through the night and the weekend and we're not putting a time stamp on this as to when we'll complete this project. we'll work with the medical examiner's office, establish positive identification and a great deal of work to be done here at the school. again, very brief questions but understand that this is an active ongoing case and many things we cannot and will not discuss at this time. yes, sir? >> told there's two other crime scenes of the suspect's father-in-law and mother-in-law. >> there is a secondary crime scene here in newtown. that is, in fact, correct.
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there is an adult deceased at that location. i can't discuss any further information on that at this time. there is assistance depended to us by new jersey. i can't answer that. yes, ma'am? >> lieutenant, can you confirm that the children -- >> okay. i can simply state that the information that we have right now that we want to publicize the s the shootings in one section of the school in two rooms. okay? one section and two rooms. that's as much as we want to go in as far as location. our personnel are documenting that entire scene and will have literally everything mapped out and in a final report and final information and present the answers to those questions but right now i don't have anymore details than that. okay? yeah. you had a question. someone -- >> one shooter? >> right now there's one shooter. but again, we're still looking at every ancillary fact and
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circumstance related to the suspect at the scene. yes, sir? [ inaudible ] i don't have that information. new. >> do we know -- >> to be determined. i don't have the answer to that question eat. next step is medical examiner's office will assist us in answering a lot of questions, manner and cause of death of all of the deceased. >> i'm sorry. >> that's it. 26 deceased. >> lieutenant, once again -- >> one person was injured. >> the children in one classroom? >> i'm sorry. >> were the children in one classroom? >> one section and one area of the school. that's the best i can do on that answer. i don't know specifically how many rooms are involved. i was told there were two but in one section of the school building. >> and the adults? >> everyone was in that same section of the building. >> is that -- >> to be determined a. section of the building is as far as we want to did. >> did you say how the shooter died? >> we did not. that's to be determined once the examinations are complete. >> the shooter, as well?
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>> i'm sorry? >> 26 including the shooter? >> 20 children, 6 adults and the shooter. >> so 27? >> 27 total. >> and the house? >> still one at the house. >> and the one at the house. >> that's at the school? >> that's correct. there's one more as we said at a secondary crime scene, a deceased adult at the secondary crime scene. yes, ma'am? >> do we know -- [ inaudible ] >> to be determined. that's something that the investigators will have to look at thoroughly and completely and takes some time to complete that question. [ inaudible ] we have not made any positive identification. there's preliminary identification. we have a great deal of work. that's one thing to do is establish positive identification on the deceased and that's a time consuming process. >> do we know the ages of the victims? >> i don't, no. i don't. it's a k-4 elementary school. >> when police went in to the
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school, were there still shots being fired at that time? >> that i don't know. i don't know the time sequence. that will be something we'll provide you. what i'd like to do -- no, we did not. what i would like to do is tell you that this is a briefing. we'll be back in 60 minutes. myself and lieutenant from newtown back and see if there's anymore detail. i have some of the questions that i have poised and see if i can get you more answers to provide you with information and just about 25, quarter to 5:00. >> was the shooter -- >> 20 children. 6 adults in the facility. plus the shooter. that's 27. and then a secondary scene with an additional adult victim at the secondary victim. >> 28. >> okay? >> 28. >> okay. >> you said quarter to 5:00? >> yeah. >> do you have a -- >> i do not. i do not. >> one thing about the families, they don't want to talk to the media. >> one thing i would like to say is that we have been meeting with all of the family members.
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it's a very, very difficult scene for the family member s fr the first responders. it's a tragedy. we have been asked by the family members to respect their privacy and leave them alone at this time. they're going through a tremendous amount of grief which i'm sure you can appreciate. i'm asked to ask you that personally by the family members. all right? i'll be back in 60 minutes with the lieutenant and answer any additional questions we can. >> have you prepared -- >> i don't know. i'll get it. >> real quickly, you prepare for scenarios like this. give us an idea of the emotion that is are now enveloping the community. >> the community's come together. certainly all the first responders are coming together. counselors. it's amazing how the immense amount of family has shown here in the town of newtown. everyone's coming together, supporting everyone, working together. trying to answer the questions of how and why this occurred and lend support to the people
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involved including the victims. okay? >> lieutenant, how long did it take -- how long from when he started shooting to when he stopped? >> i cannot answer that question, ma'am. i'll see if i at least narrow it down somewhat in the next briefing. okay? okay. >> all right. that's paul vance from the connecticut state police. before that, dan malloy, the governor of the state offering an update on the tragedy by today. it's a quaint new england town. seeing the pictures of children leaving sandy hook elementary, hard not to think of past school shootings in the country. one of the worst, of course, columbine high school in colorado. dave cullen spent ten years writing and researching about that massacre and joins us now. dave, thank you for being here. i guess your book came out about columbine ten years after the tragedy and the most eye opening thing about what you're reporting found was that all of the -- everything we thought we knew about columbine in the
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first week, two months and months after it happened was basically false and a lot of false narratives. and you basically searched for a sort of satisfying motive that we could all understand and you couldn't really find one. i wonder based of your experience if there are lessons to keep in mind piecing together what happened here in newtown in the weeks ahead. >> sure. there are a whole lot of lessons. one thing is that the media is pretty good in getting the facts right and there's always confusion in the beginning, especially the first hours and awful things like how many people have been killed and logistical things but it sorts itself out pretty quickly and normally the facts we do pretty well with. that's okay. it's the jumping to conclusions that's really the danger. especially drawing conclusions about motive because we -- there's no way to know what's happening inside this person's mind, especially most cases the person ends up dying.
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and little bits of knowledge, you know, if you take three or four little bits may seem like an obvious pattern but just remember they're tiny little dots on something much bigger and need to resist the urge to try to draw conclusions. >> i'm interested in what you learned about the hearts of the columbine survivors, jumped out at me and i think people, the president said our hearts are broken also for the survivors whose kids' innocence torn away too early and i'm sure with the long view on columbine we can see that that happened to survivors. did you learn anything about that? >> i did. you know, i don't know if this is too soon to say. i was -- i was really, really worried about the kids who lived through it at first. in fact, the day after columbine it was completely different than the day it happened. the morning after i was back there about 12 hours later, and
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there was no crying. there was no emoting. people were walking around with blank expressions, and they had lost the ability to feel, and they all told me about that and how they were -- they didn't understand why they were going through it, and i was really, really terrified about those survivors. again, i almost hate to say this this soon. the kids were more resilient than i thought and it took many of them years and years to get over it, but 13 years out most of those are doing pretty well. it's the parents of the kids who di died. they have a rough road, and some of them are still, i guess, most of them are still really struggling and i wish i had more to help them. but it's pretty rough for them. >> dave, talk about how has the community of columbine, how have
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they tried to move past this, tried to go back to some sense of normalcy following that tragic day? >> well, it took quite a while, and i mean i think the media has learned some things, too, the hard way. unfortunately, they learned it the hard way. a lot -- certain aspects of the coverage were really difficult for them, especially the playing of certain images over and over again. i mean, i think everybody probably remembers the image of kids running with their hands on their heads. after a while the families requested the tv stations to stop playing that or to limit it as much as possible, and to a large extent they did. they didn't -- they weren't quite aware of the retraumatizing. there were weird things because there were so many helicopters circling for so long, lots of the kids associated just the sound of helicopters with danger and fear and that sound would send off a panic reflex. some of it was just simple things that the local media can
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learn to stop retraumatizing people. but hopefully we in the media can -- they understand we want to interview people, we want to understand, and lots of them do want to talk and a lot of them will want to talk typically, and i'm sort of at a loss here because i don't know how to put this. most media are pretty respectful about that. there are certain shows and certain reporters who are constantly going beyond the barriers and kind of hounding them, surrounding their houses so you can't even get down the street, and that really makes it hard for them. some of them describe to me sort of a siege mentality they felt for weeks after when they were surrounded, and i would urge my colleagues in the media to think twice and three times about that kind of stuff. >> dave, as you mention, there is no satisfying motive when these things happen. there is nothing to sort of make
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sense of this. i imagine in the case of newtown, that will be even more acute as you can't put any kind of explanation to a monster who shoots 20 children. what advice would you give to grieving parents and people in that community about trying to sort of get to the bottom of what happened and get inside a killer's head as they try to piece this all together and find ways to sort of make sense of this and move on? >> well, i would say that often we can understand quite a bit about it. we can't always know -- we can't ever know the whole story, but most of the time we do end up with a pretty good idea of what was driving them, and there usually are answers out there, but we have to sort of go past the easy things. i will tell you there are three patterns of three different types of killers. there's no one profile but the three types are rarely a
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sadistic psychopath, more frequently but still relatively rare are people who are really psychotic is the term but really deeply mentally ill, usually schizophrenic. the most common are angry depressives. we're talking suicidally depressed. obviously there's a lot more to it than just depression. that's not an explanation. but i also don't think that we should throw our hands up and say, ohhing we can never understand, there is no understanding because the hard fact is every killer does do it for a reason. they had motives in their own brain and we can usually understand quite a bit. >> i'm sure we can try and understand. i don't know that those understandings are going to be satisfying to victims but -- >> exactly. >> thanks very much. >> let's bring in nbc news analy analyst clint van zandt. what kind of monster targets 20 children in a classroom? >> well, you know, that's an
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interesting term. we're going to find out in the near future what drove this man, whether he was 20 or 24 years old, what was going on. we're going to find out that there were events in his life, whether as your last guest suggested that this was an individual who was depressed, perhaps clinically depressed. there's going to be anger, frustration, rage, but realize that this is someone who allegedly killed his own mother. if you're capable of committing that horrific act, the next most horrific act may be right alongside of it is to take the life of innocent children. this shooter today violated every taboo that we know of almost in mankind as far as a murderous act. he's done it today. my fear when we deal with someone like this, just like when nbc had to deal with cho, the shooter at virginia tech in 2007 and make a decision whether to run the videos that the
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shooter had sent to nbc prior to him taking those actions, do we give too much attention. right now the shooter, even if the grave, in his mind believes that the country is talking about him, perhaps the president is talking about him, and what bothers me is the potential of individuals sitting on the edge of that emotional abyss ready to jump off and now they have yet one more model. we know people have modeled themselves after the columbine shooters. we don't want someone modeling themselves after the connecticut shooter. >> clint, i know a lot of people use the sort of cliche of thinking well, this person snapped and did this. is that really what it is or is it more of a long, slow build to this moment? >> i really don't believe in snapping. in the hundreds of situations, be it workplace violence or mass murders like this, there's always what we call psychological leakage. there's always text messages, e-mails, conversations with
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friends, visits to doctors, challenges with your parents or with your girlfriend or with your roommates or you're fired from a job. there's always multiple indicators. the challenge is that we don't pay attention to them. we dismiss them. the proverbial we don't have all the pieces of the puzzle to get -- to put together to understand the full picture of that individual, but as a society, we are still our brothers' and sisters keeper, and if we start to see these signs, if we start to see someone not only experiencing mental illness but talking about violence as a means of conflict resolution, somebody needs to raise a flag, somebody needs to try to get that person help before we have to attend these mass burials like we're going to within the next week. >> and how do you know when that line is crossed where someone is not just depressed but actually potentially a threat to themselves and to others?
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>> part of it is that we really don't have a litmus test. we don't have a form that we can have somebody fill out and we look at the answers and say, okay, five out of the ten questions they answered yes, so that means they have the potential of being a mass murderer. we don't have the ability to do that, but what we do have the ability is to see when someone is in distress, someone is depressed, or someone appears to be in need, we have to be able to flag those and as a community we have to take on that responsibility to either share that information with someone else in authority or do something about it. we are going to find whether it's buying guns, ammunition, discussing fighting with his parents, there are going to be those indicators there, but it appears at this point we know of no one who acted who came forward who tried to stop this terrible act that we saw today. >> all right. clint van zandt, thank you very much. that does it r